IRS tax scams are a dime-a-dozen. From phone call scams to email scams and beyond, scammers’ conniving knows no bounds. This tax season, we’ve seen an uptick in scamming activity. To help you avoid getting caught in IRS tax scams, the tax pros at Levy & Associates Tax Consultants have gathered a list of the 12 IRS tax scams you need to watch out for this tax season.
IRS Tax Scams to Avoid
Before we jump in, keep in mind that the IRS will NEVER ask for personal information via text, email, or phone call. If you remember this, you’ll avoid 99% of tax scams.
1. Email Phishing
Email scammers will send fraudulent emails bearing the IRS name or claiming to be IRS employees. In these emails, they may ask for personal information like social security numbers, bank info, or even payment in the form of cash app payments or gift cards. The IRS will never ask for personal or financial information via email. Do not open any links or files attached to these emails.
2. IRS Scam Calls
The IRS scam phone call exists in many forms making it tricky to identify at times. Some calls are automated and sound like collection calls from the IRS. Other calls involve a real person asking for personal info while threatening legal action.
3. IRS Text Messages
Scammers will send links, threats, or requests for personal information via text messages. Do not follow any links, and do not respond. The IRS does not use texts to gather personal or financial information.
4. Fraudulent Tax Returns
Scammers can steal your identity and use it to file fraudulent tax returns in your name. Invest in identity protection to avoid this.
5. Abusive Arrangements
Scammers will promise exciting tax savings or a bigger return if you follow their directions. Only deal with licensed tax professionals.
6. Predatory Tax Debt Settlement Companies
Predatory tax firms will target people struggling to pay their taxes and offer to do so at a discount. This is a trap. The IRS offers help for taxpayers struggling to pay. You can find help on the IRS website.
7. Ghost Tax Preparers
Unlicensed tax preparers will offer to help prepare your taxes, but without a PTIN, they cannot legally do so. If someone claiming to be a preparer does not sign your return or provide a PTIN, they are a scammer.
8. Spear Phishing
A version of email phishing, scammers will send false tax preparation software credentials (i.e. fake TurboTax setup credentials) to try to get your personal information.
9. Social Media Attacks
Similar to email phishing, scammers can use social media to run IRS tax scams. They can steal personal information and send malware-infested links to hook you into their scheme.
10. Fraudulent Unemployment Claims
Scammers can use your info to file for unemployment. Use identity protection measures to avoid this.
11. Fake Charity Requests
Fake charities may steal information or fraudulently promise tax deductions for donations. Verify 501C3 status before donating or giving out your information online..
12. Economic Impact Payment Scams
Scammers can impersonate the IRS and promise economic impact payments in return for your information. The IRS is not sending out any more economic impact payments.
Keep Yourself Safe
If you are a victim of IRS tax scams, get help. Call the IRS or involve tax pros to help you get out of trouble. At Levy & Associates Tax Consultants we can help you avoid scams and get the return you deserve. Contact us today to learn more.